Appropriation and Remix Culture in our Technological Times

First of all, when I read “intellectual property (IP)’, I thought it meant as “internet protocol” for a moment.  As I read through the paragraph the article, I realized it’s about the tangible property that is in our daily lives.  It was very interesting to read this week’s article this week because I never knew about intellectual property specifically before reading the article. Since technology and science are increasingly thriving people have made rules to apply patent on every aspect of science. But it is also to protect the flourishing science in advance. Surprisingly many organizations such as universities, science and innovation are making into its own property and resell to the public. For instance, human genes are actually being patented nowadays and marketed in the public. It is just shocking that even human organism is being commercialized and people are taking advantage for gaining money. But it was relieving that the writer addressed that people are concerning about this intellectual property issues. Also, emphasizing how science impact on our society and the importance of science in information age. Hope there’s a better way to balance between needs of science and people who needed of science products.

It is insane situation that no one can use the whole gene which some companies obtained the patents. What solution does government has for this awkward problem? Or also, do they keep trying to balance the scientists’ own property and the morally responsibilities of health issue?  In morally, it is unacceptable to put a price on the knowledge and the discoveries of health, even on the medication. However, IP rights encourage the scientist to keep explore and discover more as he can. Although scientists demands the property and patent, as much as they can own, it is hard to spread the knowledge and experiment more the other scientist can do. The limitation which made by the copyright and IP rights penetrates the scientists’ competition which is good, but other side, more obligation makes because of the lack of information and knowledge which scientists needs. However, for the health issue, the government strongly needs to consider and think how the knowledge and patent can be freely and actively flow through the scientist to let the science be developed more to benefit the both of scientists’ competition and people.

I was a little confused about this article so after I read this article, I went through all the comments and I was able to understand the article better.  I agree with the comment that the scientists are charging us with the product that is supposed to help us.  Like this person said, I agree with the part that the scientists are being selfish and they care more about how much they would make.  The consumers spend money after money to take care of our health.  Scientists are supposed to make that medicine to help the consumers get healthier.  However, this article sort of gives me the feeling that the scientists are only caring about how much they will make.  So then what if the scientists start to use cheaper products to save more money for them selves?  Consumers will not know that and will keep buying the same product.  I thought this was very scary since consumers will not know which medicine will be the medicine made right.

It is completely ridiculous that these companies can charge so much  for their products that are supposed to help people and not feel like they are robbing them. Their products are supposed to be developed to help these people and instead it seems like they are only in it for the money which is terrifying because they want their products to be mass produced and sold so they may not take as many precautionary steps as needed to make sure that the drugs safe safe for people to take. It is weird to claim intellectual property rights on a drug too. That is also kind of scary because if they have a claim on it does that mean that other people can’t come in and test the product and make sure it is safe? And if they lay claim on it that means other scientists can’t develop a drug similar to it or perfect the drug in order for it to be more effective and safer for everyone. And isn’t that the point of developing drugs? To help people? And how can people be helped if other scientists can’t critique and perfect other scientist’s works? It isn’t practical. And the laws need to be changed. People all over  the world would benefit from it. Especially the poor countries because if we switched our goals from making a profit to making a difference we would be able to sell the drugs way cheaper and make it more widely available to everyone. It is scary to think that the drug companies making the medicine I take are only interested in my money I give them and not if the product works as well as they could.

Sorry that this is so late.

Our scientific system has lost its way when they decided that life was something they could own as an intellectual property. Intellectual property implies that it is something thought up by an individual. How does a person or a corporation believe they can own the rights to a single human gene (let alone 20% of them)? Are they going to come and take them away from us if we use them without their permission? Or are they planning on charging us a monthly rate to use their property? This whole idea is completely insane. And who thought this was a good economic plan. Science should be for the bettering of mankind as a whole not for the CEO’s and stockholders of the corporations who grabbed up the most copyrights the fastest. The people are going to have to demand our government to stop trying to put a price on everything. There are just some things that should not be bought and sold. For example, the World Bank pressured the people of Bolivia to privatize their water so they could receive more aid from the bank. This resulted in the corporation who obtained the rights to their water to start charging 2/3 of their monthly income to have access to water. This went on for 2 years until the people stood up and took their water back through force. I hope that is dose not come to this but things are starting to get way out of hand and not enough people seem to notice or care.


“The fruits of science and innovation have nourished our society and economy for years, but nations unable to navigate our regulatory system are often excluded, as are vulnerable individuals. We need to consider how to balance the needs of science as an industry with the plight of those who desperately need the products of science.”

This commentary is quite interesting.  The most significant argument centers on bio-medicine (the human genome), specifically that there is actually a moral consideration that critically works well in making this opinion strong. It involves bio-medicine (and pharmacology), ecological preservation and biodiversity, cultivation and agrarian interests, engineering and education. All of these areas possess potential for strong cases to be made for free and open access to knowledge and data.

We ought to come to a just and practical form of reimbursement that gives scientists, innovators, and authors some revenue — BALANCED by a total acknowledgment that the public good is served by free and open access and use…

i wonder if a scientist patents a certain type of birth defect, will baby new borns with that defect be sued? maybe their parents..
i agree with Sulton’s statement that patents does not encourage inventions, but suppresses them. If i wanted to invent a laser toaster as an addition to an iphone, i wouldnt be able to because i would have to copy or modify the phone. My hopes would be crushed because my intention was not to develop a new phone, but to add to the iphone. I do not want to design a new phone, i just want a laser toaster in an iphone. the idea might be stupid but its the only example that comes to mind.
Limiting scientist to rely on the 80% of genes for further development is very greedy, considering that that the other 20% of genes that are patented might lead to the development of new scientific discoveries.

These corporate incentives are so aggravating! Why do these people put money above everything else? You’d think the scientists would know better; I guess ultimately it isn’t their choice, but I’m sure they can understand that only having ONE (specifically American) company do research on this particular gene, or whatever it may be, isn’t the most efficient way to get results that will have global benefits.

And furthermore, how can they patent things which already exist? It’s not like they invented these genes, they discovered them. It wasn’t theirs to begin with. I really don’t think “intellectual property” applies here.

What I found interesting about this article and how it relates to this class is not just in it’s shared critique of current copyright law/intellectual property, but in how it points out the different industries affected by it. Intellectual property is not limited to something like the entertainment industry or other cultural institutions, but to mankind as a whole. By focusing on the scientific effects of these laws, John Sulston (who has an awesome beard) points out how, as a whole, the government needs to take a good look at intellectual property. I liked that he pointed out that the government needs to take a strong lead along with independent advice. I feel that if they took into consideration the people in high positions in the scientific community they could finally understand what should be done. On that same note, it would  be of benefit for the government to look at what’s happening, culturally, to inform new copyright laws. Instead of being informed by companies with a monetary incentive, it would be to the benefit of ‘the little man’ if the government took into consideration what, culturally, people were doing too. Of course it’s very hard to compete with lobbyists and the culture of D.C. but it would be nice to see something happen.

The author of the article, John Sulston, argues that IP rights have a massive significance within the realm of creation and innovation. He specifically mentions science as his area of concern, and how the essence of scientific study is becoming highly commoditized. He claims that further research cannot proceed because larger corporations restrict scientists from testing 80% of genes from patents. In mild sarcasm, he states “IP is supposedly intended to encourage inventors and the investment needed to bring their products to the clinic and marketplace.” On a moral basis, this should be true, but due to the interference of larger, more powerful companies, it becomes difficult to decipher who’s getting credit for what when new discoveries are revealed and marketed to the public.

My personal take on this matter graciously agrees with Sulston’s vision to re-purify the world of science. I guess, since the article is so one-sided, it’s hard to find/think of any counterpoints in which Sulston should take into consideration. I am not a frequent consumer of medication, but I’ve observed how a majority of the American society depends on drugs and medication to proceed with their daily lives. With this in mind, It seems the demand for medication is always constant, so the market must respond to this. There seems to be a loss of connectivity between society, and the scientific community, who are capable of making progressive discoveries when materials are affordable and plentiful.

Comparing this situation to artistic theft or appropriation, there are some similarities in Sulston’s argument that relate to the ongoing debate about the next direction of art. I believe there is a lot of credibility in having creative integrity and acknowledgement is always desired upon originality and creativity. What seems to destroy this integrity is when outside negotiations are made in order to compromise and re-essemble the original source material.

As I said before, I found this article convincing, (which it turn made me feel a bit sympathetic for future desires for scientific studies in America), but I still got the feeling that I was seeing this argument from one standpoint, in which Sulston seemed very headstrong with delivering this message clearly and concisely to the public. Although this is a different category of Copyright, it is still a relevant example to reference from when concerning Copyright from an artistic, or another perspective.

-Nicole R.